Taxpayer’s federation criticized Doug Black for lavish travel expenses while on university business
By Christopher Walsh
Doug Black, the president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada and former University of Calgary board chair, was named to Canada’s Senate Friday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, along with four other appointees from across the country.
Black, who was criticized last year by the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation after documents revealed over $28,000 in questionable spending of the U of C’s money, will represent Alberta in the senate.
“I am pleased to announce the addition of five more notable Canadians to the Senate of Canada,” said Harper in a press release. “All appointees are remarkable Canadians who have distinguished themselves in their respective pursuits.”
The taxpayer’s federation uncovered documents last fall through freedom of information requests that showed Doug Black had expensed close to $5,400 on liquor and executive class flights, $1,200 on a two-night Four Season stay in Houston and another $1,200 for a Ritz carlton stay in Toronto.
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While Black did reimburse the university for the liquor and flights, CTF Alberta director Scott Hennig said at the time that it would be difficult for Black to justify running up high-priced hotel bills while on U of C business.
“There’s likely more than a few U of C students who are barely able to scrape together $525 per month for rent, let alone for one night in the Toronto Ritz Carleton, like the University paid for Mr. Black’s March 2011 trip,” Hennig said.
Doug Black received the most votes for senate in last spring’s provincial election. Premier Alison Redford announced Friday in a release that she was pleased with Harper’s choice of Black for the senate.
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has followed the wishes of Alberta voters and appointed Doug Black to Canada’s Senate,” she said.
“I am positive he will be an excellent representative for our province in the Upper Chamber.”
Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta president Jim McCormack said Doug Black has been a “dedicated supporter” of the party and applauded Harper’s selection.
“Doug has been a dedicated supporter and volunteer as a member of the PCAA’s provincial executive committee and I know that he will bring with him his wealth of knowledge and a thoughtful approach to effective decision making as a senator in Ottawa,” he said.
Other senate appointees include Denise Batters, a lawyer from Saskatchewan, Lynn Beyak, a small business owner from Onatrio and Victor Oh, president of a property development firm also from Ontario. Also appointed to the senate by Harper is David Wells, a former executive with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board who will fill a seat from Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I look forward to working with these talented individuals in Parliament,” Harper said. “Their collective experience and dedication are most welcome as our government continues to work on addressing the needs and expectations of Canadians from coast to coast.”